Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Trekkies steer NASA mission toward Vulcan hunt

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

We were surprised today at news from NASA: "Mission could seek out Spock's home planet." That's right, Trekkies – I mean, astronomers – think NASA's upcoming planet-finding mission might be able to "detect an earth-like planet around the star 40 Eridani" – a three-star solar system that dedicated Star Trek fan(atic)s know as the location of Mr. Spock's homeworld, Vulcan.

Caltech astronomer Angelle Tanner wondered whether the SIM PlanetQuest probe could detect a planet should one be able to form around 40 Eridani A, the red-orange K dwarf star. "Vulcan is thought to orbit that dwarf star," according to NASA (which neglected to include the crucial qualifier "in Make-believe Land" in that sentence).

Upon examining the data, planetary theorist Sean Raymond of the University of Colorado, Boulder, said a planet that could sustain life could form there as long as its orbit was a distance equivalent to about three-fifths the earth's distance from our own sun.

The SIM PlanetQuest probe, which aims to detect planets around distant stars, would be able to find a planet with a mass similar to the earth's Tanner calculated. Her results [Quicktime movie] have been submitted to the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

But Star Trek – or the show's information site – gets a important few details wrong. Its entry on Vulcan says 40 Eridani – about 16 light-years from earth – is "located roughly in the same region as … Alpha Centauri." Alpha Centauri is the closest stellar system to our own – and 4.37 light years away. In other words, not even close. Trekkies really ought to know that.

But what we want to know after today's odd announcement is: When NASA is going to get serious and start looking for Caprica?

[And yes, the title and sprinkling of mockery in this post is all light-hearted. Who among the readers of this blog hasn't enjoyed Star Trek?]

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Here's what could happen if North Korea detonated a hydrogen bomb
If nuclear tensions between North Korea and the United States were to escalate beyond hurling test missiles and insults like 'madman' and 'dotard,' what would that look like? Experts share some of the ramifications to human health, the environment and technology.
Powerless Puerto Rico's storm crisis deepens with dam threatening to fail video
Puerto Rican officials have been unable communicate with more than half the towns in the U.S. territory as they rush to evacuate tens of thousands of people downstream of a failing dam, with a possible catastrophe imminent.
Trump has made 'our rockets' visit' to U.S. mainland inevitable, North Korean foreign minister says video
North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the United Nations on Saturday that U.S. President Donald Trump had made "our rockets' visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable" by calling North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "rocket man."
more »

Canada »

Chief Canadian NAFTA negotiator not expecting progress on auto content rules
Despite tough talk from the U.S. about the job-killing impact of NAFTA on its automotive sector, Canada's chief negotiator isn't expecting to see a detailed American proposal on the matter during the latest round of talks to rewrite the continental trade pact.
'Full of energy and passion': Liberal MP Arnold Chan remembered as advocate for Canadians at funeral
Arnold Chan, the Liberal MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, was remembered by dignitaries and colleagues, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at a church service in Toronto on Saturday.
Analysis 'Trump has scared the bejesus out of everyone': How Canada could win the Amazon sweepstakes
Amazon's picking Canada for its coveted second headquarters is more than just wishful thinking.
more »

Politics »

Chief Canadian NAFTA negotiator not expecting progress on auto content rules
Despite tough talk from the U.S. about the job-killing impact of NAFTA on its automotive sector, Canada's chief negotiator isn't expecting to see a detailed American proposal on the matter during the latest round of talks to rewrite the continental trade pact.
'Full of energy and passion': Liberal MP Arnold Chan remembered as advocate for Canadians at funeral
Arnold Chan, the Liberal MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, was remembered by dignitaries and colleagues, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at a church service in Toronto on Saturday.
Analysis Senate looks for a way forward on expenses after years of scandal
Many senators who lived through the auditor general's recent review of expenses say the process cost too much and took too long — but the next step could be trying, too, as senators argue over the best way to keep an eye on expenses without racking up huge costs.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Meghan Markle's ex developing 'splitcom' with royal family ties: report
Meghan Markle, actress and girlfriend of Prince Harry, might have inspired a new sitcom being developed by her ex-husband.
Soul singer Charles Bradley dead at age 68
Soul singer Charles Bradley has died, according to a tweet from his official account. He was 68.
Shawn Mendes donates $100k to Mexican earthquake relief
Shawn Mendes has launched an online fundraiser to help those affected by the Mexican earthquake just days after he escaped safely from the quake ahead of a planned show in Mexico City, an incident he called "pretty scary."
more »

Technology & Science »

Here's what could happen if North Korea detonated a hydrogen bomb
If nuclear tensions between North Korea and the United States were to escalate beyond hurling test missiles and insults like 'madman' and 'dotard,' what would that look like? Experts share some of the ramifications to human health, the environment and technology.
Climate change scientists fight for funding to save High Arctic lab
Scientists say if they can't get more funding, they will have to pull the plug on Canada's northernmost research station in May of 2018.
New iPhones cost from $229 to $799 with a two-year contract
If you sign up for a contract, the iPhone 8 starts at $229 Cdn and the iPhone X at $599.
more »

Money »

Analysis 'Trump has scared the bejesus out of everyone': How Canada could win the Amazon sweepstakes
Amazon's picking Canada for its coveted second headquarters is more than just wishful thinking.
Q&A: How to avoid car dealerships pushing maintenance you don't need
Following a Marketplace investigation, host David Common and expert mechanic Mark Whinton participated in a Facebook Live, answering viewers' questions about their vehicles and what actually needs work when at the car dealership.
New iPhones cost from $229 to $799 with a two-year contract
If you sign up for a contract, the iPhone 8 starts at $229 Cdn and the iPhone X at $599.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Donald Trump, Warriors agree White House visit is off
The Golden State Warriors say they will not go to the White House when they visit Washington early next year, announcing the decision hours after President Donald Trump tweeted he was withdrawing the invitation.
Jean William Prévost: How China became my BMX salvation
Canadian BMX rider Jean William Prévost’s world travels were influenced by his father. But not even Prévost could envision what a pivotal role China would play in the evolution of his BMX career.
Video Jean William Prevost and his bike video
BMX flatland rider Jean William Prevost discusses his relationship with his bike, and how it helps him perform.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »